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They say old geezers love to relive the exploits of their youth.

      One of the peaks in Ehud Barak’s military career as the IDF’s most highly decorated soldier was during the famous April 1973 retaliatory raid on terrorist headquarters in Beirut when the baby-faced commander of the special forces donned a dress pretending with another commando to be a couple on the street, while others special forces were inside. 

      Could that be the reason the now 75 year-old former Chief-of-Staff/defense – foreign - prime minister, sporting a new graying Fidel Castro-like beard, has been sighted walking around Tel Aviv unescorted, with…a woman’s clutch? Other men use a cross-shoulder bag, backpack or small shouldered ‘flight’ bag when out ‘n about…not a clutch

      Making a live guest appearance on the TV satire show Gav HaUma (originally, ‘State of the Nation’), the former Labor Party leader (who is rumored to be seeking a political comeback) explained his weird fashion choice: He’s ‘packing a piece’ in that innocent- looking clutch because Barak no longer has a bodyguard.

      The ex-commando clarified: “I’ll give anyone who forces my hand, less than four seconds.” (YediotPhoto credit: Piece about the ‘piece’ and photo of Barak with his Klatch…er clutch, in Yediot.



Attempts by the Opposition to oust the Prime Minister – if not on charges of misconduct (real, exaggerated or imagined) than by any means at their disposal, reached new heights: a plot to vote Prime Minister Natanyahu out of office…but not in the old fashioned way by winning national elections fair and square…

      Meretz activists (supporters of a tiny Left-wing party that has garnering a mere 5 seats in the 120 seat Knesset, compared to the Likud’s 30) are behind registration of so-called New Likudniks – an estimated 14,000  Left-of-center Meretz and Zionist Union supporters (and still counting) who have joined the Likud party.

      The Likud only has 100,000 registered members, and in the last primaries, 14 MKs won seats with less than 14,000 votes in their favor. Having done the math, the New Likudnik bloc hope to dictate who will appear on the Likud ticket (candidates they wouldn’t be caught dead voting for in general elections…) hoping to even unseat Natanyahu in the process.

      Legitimate? Unethical? Merely pathetic? 

      Ironically, there is nothing in the law in Israel that prevents a person registering as a loyal member of Meretz and the Likud at the same time…

      Call it ‘one Jew, two opinions’. (Galei Tzahal) Photo credit: New Likud Facebook page


* The Likud is seek legal ways to bloc such a ‘hostile takeover’.



As if Israel doesn’t have enough problems with pollution from waves of untreated Palestinian sewage dumped into the Mediterranean in Gaza which flows with the currents to Israeli beaches just to the north, at times even forcing the desalinization plant at Ashkelon to shut down temporarily: Alas, a study by the Israeli NGO Ecoocean* found concentrations of microplastic in the waters along Israeli shores is ten times higher than at the western end of the Med.

      No, Israelis aren’t to blame. It’s the fault of the currents - evidenced by Turkish yogurt containers, Cyprian orange drink and Greek mineral water bottles washed up on Israel’s shores. Sixty to eighty percent of such foreign trash that ends up at the eastern end of the Med are plastic which turns into 5 mm microplastic. Not only fish devour microplastic; it’s also consumed by endangered sea turtles who think the shiny flakes are yummy jellyfish. (Yediot) Photo credit:  Ecoocean


* Ecoocean organizes Israeli volunteers to clean up the marine litter washed up (or left) on Israeli beaches.



The Israeli army encourages parents to be party to their children’s military service in a host of ways, including Parents Day at boot camp, invitations to passing out ceremonies in training…even in some cases, participating in the last leg of a 70 kilometer forced march culminating in receipt of a coveted unit beret…**

      However, there are 2,900 ‘lone soldiers’ in the IDF whose parents live outside Israel.

      From time-to-time various entities have flown parents living abroad to Israel as a ‘surprise’ for a son or daughter in uniform, but now this is likely to become official policy: At the initiative of Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, the State of Israel would underwrite such visits (including flights, lodging and tours) for parents who can’t afford to come at their own expense. The program will be run jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. (Yediot) Photo credit:  Father Sam Gosslin and lone soldier son Anthony – IDF Spokesperson


* also called Birthright, a  program that offers a free 10-day trips to Israel to 18 to 26 year-old Jews in the Diaspora to bolster their Jewish identity and their ties to the State of Israel.


** Veteran Chelm fans may remember how in 2015 dozens and dozens of perfect strangers appeared to serve as ‘surrogate parents’ for a lone soldier at one such graduation ceremony, at the request of the lone soldier’s mom in New York (see Going the Extra Mile).



Israel has the highest rate of car theft in the world, and the overwhelming majority end up in Palestinian-controlled areas – where within hours they are reduced to lucrative ’salvaged spare parts’ or are sold to other Palestinians. But why did the percentage of cars stolen in Israel by breaking into the owner’s house and walking off with the keys to the car spiral by 40 percent, from 18 percent in 2016 to 25 percent* in the first quarter of 2017?

            In other words, how come more and more car thieves have the audacity and nerve to simple choose a late model car of choice sitting in the driveway, enter the house and swipe the car keys - knowing full well that the owner is home….

            It may take chutzpa, but not nerve: Some observers believe it is the upshot of a rash of cases where civilians and soldiers in the vicinity of a terrorist attack, and homeowners dumb enough to try and defend their property, were turned into assailants for responding with force…even for only fired warning shots in the air… For instance, a 75 year-old moshavnik who shot in the air several times to dissuade four Palestinian rustlers from attacking him with screwdrivers, a crowbar, a heavy-duty wire cutter and a sledge hammer they were carrying after the farmer rudely interrupted them trying to steal his goat herd at 3 AM.

            The farmer himself was detained by police who initially** confiscated his pistol, took his fingerprints, held him overnight and accused the farmer of misuse of a firearm. Would it be best leave one’s car keys on the coffee table or the kitchen counter at night, rather than on the nightstand?

            It would seem so. (Yediot, Reshet TV)


* almost all the other car thefts are by hacking into the car’s computer, and carjacking is rare (2 percent of all car thefts).


** the Law dropped the charge and returned the farmer’s sidearm after the press took up the fight.